Mom wor­ries about COVID-19 ex­po­sure

Times Standard (Eureka) - - YOUR DAILY BREAK - Amy Dick­in­son

DEAR AMY » I have a 3-year-old son. His fa­ther and I sep­a­rated when he was a baby, but we have a good co-par­ent­ing re­la­tion­ship. We’ve never had any prob­lems with this ar­range­ment. My son sees his fa­ther nearly ev­ery day, and this is how we both like it.

I have an im­mune de­fi­ciency and mild asthma. Wor­ry­ing about the COVID-19 pan­demic, I do not want to leave my young son with­out a mother.

I’m try­ing to take ev­ery pre­cau­tion against con­tract­ing the virus, in­clud­ing us­ing lots of hand san­i­tizer, and clean­ing any­thing (like gro­ceries) that comes into my house.

My ex has a very ro­bust im­mune sys­tem. He is not wor­ried about the coro­n­avirus. He is work­ing and go­ing out for gro­ceries. He is not us­ing hand san­i­tizer or clean­ing fre­quently touched sur­faces, like his car steer­ing wheel or cell­phone.

While he is phys­i­cally dis­tanc­ing and wash­ing his hands a bit more than usual, I don’t feel like this is enough, given my im­mune-com­pro­mised sit­u­a­tion. If he gets the virus, he is likely to have mild symp­toms or be asymp­to­matic. I’m afraid he will catch the virus and give it to my son, who will pass it to me. I’ve tried talk­ing to him about this, but he is not re­cep­tive. I don’t know what to do.

What is your ad­vice? — Wor­ried Mom

DEAR WOR­RIED » Par­ents are sup­posed to have the ca­pac­ity to forgo their im­me­di­ate im­pulses for the sake of their chil­dren.

The best way to pre­vent this ill­ness is to avoid ex­po­sure. The best way for your son to have both par­ents in his life, long into the fu­ture — is to avoid ex­po­sure. You and your ex should con­nect with your son’s pe­di­a­tri­cian — to­gether, and im­me­di­ately — (through video con­fer­enc­ing) to ask for a physi­cian’s ad­vice.

Your boy trav­els be­tween par­ents nearly ev­ery day. One ob­vi­ous idea would be for these vis­its to be tem­po­rar­ily stopped, or cut down — tem­po­rar­ily, for ev­ery­one’s safety.

If your ex would agree to cut these vis­its to even three times a week, this would limit the num­ber of pos­si­ble ex­po­sures be­tween house­holds. You should also se­ri­ously dis­cuss the re­al­ity and pos­si­bil­ity of one par­ent (you or him) NOT hav­ing your son with you, per­haps for the next month, and then ne­go­ti­at­ing ways to make up the dif­fer­ence af­ter the risk has passed.

The CDC sug­gests that chil­dren over the age of two should wear a cloth face cov­er­ing when in a “com­mu­nity set­ting.” When your son is delivered to you, you should wear a mask, he should put on a mask, and be taken di­rectly to the bath­room for some healthy hand­wash­ing and to take his tem­per­a­ture. There are many ex­am­ples on­line of cloth masks made for kids, and you could ei­ther pur­chase or make one for him at home.

If you con­tinue vis­its, don’t let him bring toys or books be­tween house­holds.

You can con­tact Amy Dick­in­son via email: askamy@amy­dick­in­ and fol­low her on Twit­ter @ask­ingamy.

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